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Κυριακή, 3 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Vegetarians Cooking Vacations

Holiday overview
This 6 night/7 day vegetarian cooking holiday is not only a unique cooking experience, but a chance to completely immerse yourself in the culture of Crete. Tour around the island, visit cultural sites and local producers and learn to cook authentic and delicious vegetarian Cretan dishes Holidays here allow you to steep yourself in Cretan local history, taste and cook using the techniques of traditional Cretan cuisine, absorb some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery that Greece has to offer and let the passion of the Cretan way of life take you to a whole new cookery haven.

Included in the price
Please note that holidays do not include flights; please see the 'getting there' tab for more details.
·         Accommodation at the Thalori Traditional Complex in a twin/double room house for 6 nights
·         Return transfers to/from Heraklion airport
·         A welcome drink and snack on arrival at the airport
·         Vegetarian Cretan cookery lessons on day 2,3,4 and 5
·         A visit to archaeological sites of Gortys, Phaestos and Knossos (guiding/entrance fees are extra)
·         A visit to the women’s co-operative of Marathos
·         A visit to the monasteries of Arkadi and Odigitrias
·         A visit to Argyroupolis natural springs and Matala caves and Zaros lake
·         A gastronomic walking tour of Heraklion
·         A visit to local bee-keeping honey producers and tasting of produce
·         A visit to local wineries and tasting of wine and raki
·         All transport to and from the excursions
·         All cooking materials and ingredients
·         Breakfast each morning
·         Lunch on days 2-6
·         Dinner accompanied by water, local wine and raki every night
·         Prices are based on two sharing a house, a single supplement applies for those travelling solo
·         Note: Shared houses may be available subject to availability
Suitability
§          Vegetarian cookery holidays are suitable for all levels from complete beginners to experienced cooks
§          Non-vegetarians are welcome on the course but they must be aware no meat will be used during the cooking classes
§          Please specify what type of vegetarian diet you follow at the time of booking under the special requests box
§          Minimum age 8 (under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult)
§          Your host is Greek but speaks excellent English so all cooking classes are taught in English

Travelling Solo?
§           These cookery holidays make great singles holidays and singles are welcome to join an existing group
§           Solo travelers will be allocated their own house in the complex and a compulsory single supplement applies – please see the costing and extras tab for details
§           It may be possible to share a house with another guest or guests and avoid a supplement but this is dependent on availability, contact us at:info@portoclub.gr to check availability for shared options
Location overview
Set on the island of Crete, with magical sea views, is as passionate about food as it is history and culture. Holidays here allow you to steep yourself in Cretan local history, taste and cook using the techniques of traditional Cretan cuisine, absorb some of the most breathtakingly beautiful scenery that Crete has to offer and let the passion of the Cretan way of life take you to a whole new cookery haven.
Holiday start days
§            All arrivals are on Sundays all year round with your preferred date
§            Arrival will depend on your flight but times can be flexible
§            Vegetarian cooking holidays are for 6 nights/7 days

What Will I Learn?
- Your week in Crete will be as much a hands on cooking experience as a cultural one
- George will introduce you to the philosophy of local cooking and its traditions
- You will learn about the history of Cretan cuisine and how it was influenced by its occupation for more than 2000 years
- You will learn the inspirations behind the Cretan dishes
- The methods employed by local producers
- How to make a variety of Cretan dishes from simple ingredients you can find back home
- How very few ingredients can be the basis for 6 or 7 dishes
- How to prepared traditional Cretan dishes adapted to vegetarian requirements but never compromising on flavor
- The cooking techniques and methods used to create the dishes

Sample Menus
Dishes vary according to the season and what food is available but may include:
- Various Moussakas
- Stuffed peppers, tomatoes, courgettes and Aubergines (Papoutsakia)
- Dolmadakia – vine leaf wraps stuffed with sorrel, pumpkin flowers
- Mageirefta
- Ladera
- Casseroles
- Saganaki (fried cheese)
- Sfakiani (stuffed pitta)
- Soups
- Kalisounia (traditional Cretan pies)
- Sweet and savoury pastries
- Please note that dietary requirements (including allergies or vegans) must be written in the Special Requests box at the time of booking including what type of vegetarian diet you follow


Holiday itinerary
Kapetaniana is a small village perched at an altitude of 800 meters on the Asteroussia range. This little known haven of tranquillity lies west of Kophinas peak, commanding magnificent views over the Libyan sea and surrounded by mountain wilderness. Kapetaniana is the glorious setting where you will combine your vegetarian cooking holiday with an outstanding traditional Greek cultural experience. 
This is why this vegetarian cooking holiday is one of a kind.  Your cookery school offers an all-encompassing cultural cookery experience. In the mornings you will sit down to a lavish breakfast before heading off to visit sites of cultural interest specifically chosen so that you can immerse yourself in local Cretan history and tradition. 
The area is steeped in history and intrigue and you will visit many interesting places, including the Basilica of St. Titus, the valley of Messaras, the city of Rethymnon and the waters of Argyroupolis. You will see the awe inspiring frescoes at the monastery of Odigitrias, which has a rich history dating back to the Turkish occupation, and visit local wineries with a chance to try your hand at making raki.
Your host and cook, George, believes it is important for you to fully experience the Cretan passion for food and each day he will take you around the island and show you the local traditions, historical and archaeological sites of interest and then you will share lunch with the locals before returning for your hands on, custom made cookery class.

Under the careful guidance and tutelage of cook George, you will be taught the traditional Cretan way of creating and transforming vegetarian dishes into something wonderful to be shared with friends and loved ones.

You will learn to cook in an informal and sociable environment, with lessons custom built around your tastes and preferences. The focus is on learning to be creative with traditional and local ingredients taken fresh every day from the fields and markets.
This really is the best of both worlds.  A really unique experience, combining local visits in a beautiful tranquil setting with learning the skills and passion of Cretan cuisine, this unique 6 night/7 day vegetarian cooking holiday is truly a magical experience.

Suitability
- Vegetarian cookery holidays are suitable for all levels from complete beginners to experienced cooks
- Non-vegetarians are welcome on the course but they must be aware no meat will be used during the cooking classes
- Please specify what type of vegetarian diet you follow at the time of booking under the special requests box
- Minimum age 8 (under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult)
- Your host is Greek but speaks excellent English so all cooking classes are taught in English

Travelling Solo?
- These cookery holidays make great singles holidays and singles are welcome to join an existing group
- Solo travellers will be allocated their own house in the complex and a compulsory single supplement applies – please see the costing and extras tab for details
- It may be possible to share a house with another guest or guests and avoid a supplement but this is dependent on availability.

Vegetarian Cooking Holiday Start Days
- All arrivals are on Sundays on set dates
- Arrival will depend on your flight but times can be flexible
- It may be possible to arrange vegetarian cookery holidays on other date for groups of 2 or more, to check availability, contact us with your preferred date
- Vegetarian cooking holidays are for 6 nights/7 days
- If dates appear ‘on request’ please contact us and we’ll check availability for your preferred day of arrival as quickly as possible

Vegetarian Cooking Holiday Itinerary
The itinerary is for guidance only and is subject to change depending on the group’s needs and wishes but is typically as follows:
Day 1- Sunday - Arrival and traditional Cretan welcome dinner 
- After arriving at Heraklion airport, you will be met by your driver and English speaking Cretan host George
- If you’re arriving in the morning you’ll head somewhere for lunch before being driven to the Thalori Resort via transfer
- For guests arriving after lunch, George will meet you at the airport and offer you a coffee, snack and water for the 70 minute transfer to the Thalori Traditional Resort
- Check into your house, relax and explore your surroundings before joining your fellow guests for a welcome dinner made up of a variety of local Cretan foods – your first taster of the flavours of Crete

Day 2 – Monday – Explore south-central Crete, visit to archaeological sites of Gortys, and Phaestos, Kokkinos Pyrgos village and first cooking lesson
- Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading out to explore the south-central part of the island with your host George
- Today you’ll visit Gortys, the ruined capital city of the Roman province which included the island of Crete
- You’ll see the impressive amphitheatre and the Basilica of St Titus before driving west to the archaeological site of Phaestos – the second most significant site of the Minoan civilisation
- Phaestos is an ancient palace and you’ll also see the site of the ancient city is was located in offering a detailed insight into ancient life
- Stop off in the fishing village of Kokkinos Pyrgos for lunch and enjoy local specialities – or freshly caught seafood for the pescatarians
- After lunch you’ll head back to the Thalori complex and head to the kitchen for your first cooking class
-This evening’s hands-on class focuses on vegetables and George will teach you preparation techniques that transform basic ingredients into the stars of the table, full of richness colour and flavour
- After the class sit down as a group and enjoy the meal you’ve learned to cook accompanied by local wine

Day 3 – Tuesday – Arkadi monastery, city of Rethymnon, Argyroupolis natural springs
- After breakfast at the Thalori houses where you will be staying, take a drive through the vineyards and small villages of the Heraklion region
- Visit the 16th century monastery of Arkadi, and Margarites – a small village famous for producing ceramics
- Next  you’ll visit the city a Rethymnon a city seeped in history and an attractive place to wander through its narrow streets and marvel at Venetian and Turkish architecture that house its restaurants, cafes and shops
- After browsing the shops and a coffee break where you can mingle with the locals, you’ll drive to the natural springs of Argyroupolis a site boasting attractive cascades and an idyllic setting for lunch where you’ll enjoy Cretan vegetable and cheese specialities
- After lunch you’ll return to the Thalori houses and prepare for your second cooking class with George this time focusing on stuffed peppers, courgettes, aubergines and tomatoes as well as Dolmadakia – stuffed wraps with vine leaves, sorrel and pumpkin flowers.
- After the class you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labour with the group along with some raki and local wine

Day 4 – Wednesday – Matala caves, Odigitrias monastery, seaside lunch and casserole cooking class
- After breakfast you’ll be driven to the monastery of Odigitrias where you can admire its stunning frescoes and learn about its history
- Next, head to the caves of Matala and its beach which is known to be the best in the region where you’ll learn about the ancient history of the caves and the more modern history and how it was mentioned in songs by Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell amongst others
- You’ll stay in Matala for lunch and enjoy a seaside meal before heading back to begin this evening’s cookery class
-Tonight’s cooking class is based around the mageirefta or ladera and you’ll use several types of wild greens, green beans, broad beans and other ingredients to create a  delicious dish to enjoy with the other guests of local wine and raki

Day 5 – Thursday – Zaros lake, wineries, raki making, beehives visit and art of pastry making at the women’s co-operative of Marathos and final cooking class
-Enjoy breakfast at your accommodation before driving north and discovering the beautiful lake of Zaros
- Here you can admire the scenery and stop for coffee before heading to Dafnes, a small village near Heraklion and the location of several small, well-known family wineries
- Depending on the season, you may have the chance to see first hand the making of Cretan raki
- You’ll also enjoy a raki tasting along with wine tasting of several unique wines before eating some local dishes for lunch
- After lunch, you’ll visit a bee keeper and learn about traditional methods of bee-keeping employed here to make organic, additive free local honey
- The owners are two brothers who have been bee-keepers their whole lives, inheriting the business from their father
- You’ll take a short hike to reach the location of where the bees are kept before strolling to the local cafe which is run by the owners
- At the cafe, you will have the opportunity to take honeycombs straight from the beehive, learn about the bees and beekeeping as well as enjoying the local pancakes known as tiganites served with honey and cheese pies along with raki and local wine
- Next, you will visit the women’s co-operative near the village of Marathos where the residents make unique and incredibly artistic pastry breads called xompliasto
- You will see how the pastry is made and the delicate work needed to create such stunning breads
- On arrival back at the resort, you will begin your final cooking class which features special traditional pies which are roasted and fried in the pan
- You’ll enjoy dinner accompanied by wine and raki with your fellow guests

Day 6 – Friday – Knossos, walking tour of Heraklion and farewell dinner
-After breakfast, today’s excursion takes you to Knossos, an ancient palace and must-see archaeological site of Crete
- After visiting the 3500 year old site of Knossos, you’ll head to Heraklion and take a walk through the city taking a gastronomic tour of all the best local food places and vendors
- You’ll visit the best pastry shop in the city and sample filo pastries in syrups, with cheeses before heading to a coffee shop and tasting coffee roasted the traditional way in hot sand
- Next you’ll explore the central market and stop for an ouzo with meze at one of the traditional mezedopolion (restaurants)
- You’ll also have the opportunity to see the cathedral of Saint Minas, the Morozini fountain, Venetian church turned art gallery before heading towards the seaside
- A light lunch will be served accompanied by chilled white wine before ending your gastronomic walking tour to taste the famous loukoumades – Cretan style doughnuts sprinkled with honey and sesame
- After the walking tour, you’ll head back to the Thalori resort to relax before  a farewell dinner which tonight is your day off from cooking and a chance to enjoy a meal cooked by the chefs at the complex
- Dinner is a chance to sample yet more local dishes and compare them to the dishes you’ve learnt during the week and discuss the sites, tastes and sounds of your holiday with new friends over wine and raki

Day 7 – Saturday – Departure day
- After a leisurely breakfast guests are asked to check-out of their rooms and be ready to be taken back to the airport taking home with them an insight into Cretan life, new friendships and unique culinary and cultural memories that will stay with them long after the holiday is over

About Your host
- Your Greek host and cook for the holiday is George
- George has been working in the travel industry for over 40 years but has always had an love and interest in food and the food industry
- George has had two experiences running his own restaurants and has catered for Cretan weddings as well as running cookery holidays on the island
- He began offering cooking holidays in response to guest’s request whilst working in travel and has run the holidays for a number of years
George’s interest and expertise in vegetarian and vegan cuisine came in response to some guest’s comments that Cretan and Greek food is heavily meat focussed
He took it upon himself to prove to his guests that Crete and Greece was the perfect destination for vegetarians and vegans ,and over the years he has worked extensively with the International Vegetarian Society, and Vegan Society
- George is well rehearsed in vegetarian and vegan diets and hopes to show visitors the richness of Cretan food that he believes can be accessible and enjoyed by all, whatever your dietary requirements
- George’s style is friendly, informal, and relaxed and cooking is often accompanied by a glass of wine or raki
- He thinks cooking should be a fun activity to be shared with friends and there are no strict rules to his cooking
- He believes the freshness of the ingredients make the dishes and uses only local ingredients
- George is passionate about the island of Crete and so as well as taking you on a culinary journey to discover the island’s cuisine, it will also be a cultural one

What Will I Learn?

- Your week in Crete will be as much a hands on cooking experience as a cultural one
- George will introduce you to the philosophy of local cooking and its traditions
- You will learn about the history of Cretan cuisine and how it was influenced by its occupation for more than 2000 years
- You will learn the inspirations behind the Cretan dishes
- The methods employed by local producers
- How to make a variety of Cretan dishes from simple ingredients you can find back home
- How very few ingredients can be the basis for 6 or 7 dishes
- How to prepared traditional Cretan dishes adapted to vegetarian requirements but never compromising on flavour
- The cooking techniques and methods used to create the dishes

Sample Menus
Dishes vary according to the season and what food is available but may include:
- Various moussakas
- Stuffed peppers, tomatoes, courgettes and aubergine (papoutsakia)
- Dolamadakia – vine leaf wraps stuffed with sorrel, pumpkin flowers
- Mageirefta
- Ladera
- Casseroles
- Saganaki (fried cheese)
- Sfakiani (stuffed pitta with fresh goat salty cheese)
- Soups
- Kalisounia (traditional Cretan pies)
- Sweet and savoury pastries
- Please note that dietary requirements (including allergies or vegans) must be written in the Special Requests box at the time of booking including what type of vegetarian diet you follow

The Accommodation
- Your accommodation is set in the village of Kapetaniana, in the Heraklion region of the island of Crete
- Kapetaniana is a small village perched some 800m above sea level, with magnificent views of the Libyan Sea
- You’ll stay in the 
Thalori Resort which is made up of a cluster of 14 traditional houses and boasts a central restaurant, kitchen and recreational area
- Each house has been built with an emphasis on traditional, locally sourced resources
- Local rocks and stones make up the walls of the properties, local marble and wood for the interior and traditional fireplaces and embroidered carpets make for a warm and welcoming stay
- All houses are equipped with central heating, fireplace, fully equipped kitchen, mini stereo system, Satellite TV with 20” LCD screen, Chess table, board games, orthopaedic mattresses, and complimentary bathroom products
- Houses vary in size and accommodate from 1-5 people
- There are 4 double bedroom houses, 5 triple room houses, 1 four bedroom property and 4 five bedroom houses
- Bathrooms are shared within each house
- If you are travelling solo, stay in a double room house for sole occupancy for a small supplement or you may be able to share a house with other guests but this is subject to availability (to check availability please contact us
- Houses are allocated according to availability, where possible your group will be offered their own house
- The thick stone wall and central heating make the houses a comfortable temperature year round
- There is a swimming pool with beautiful views over the area at the accommodation
- The restaurant is built in a similar style to the houses and set over two floors
- There is also a professional kitchen and separate meeting room with terrace within the restaurant building
- Your cookery lessons will take place either in the complex’s kitchen, side meeting room with terrace, or in the restaurant itself
- The imposing windows of the restaurant offer panoramic views to the Libyan Sea
- Accommodation is included for 6 nights / 7 days
- Check in anytime after 2pm on day 1 and check out by 10.30am on day 7 (subject to flight times)

Meals
- All breakfasts are included and taken in the complex restaurant
- Breakfast consists of bread, honey, eggs, local pancakes, cheese, yoghurts, fresh fruits, fresh juices
- Lunch is always taken out on excursions at local villages and restaurants
- Dinner is the food that you’ve learnt to cook and the first on Sunday and last dinner on Friday is prepared for you by chefs at your accommodation
- All meals are suitable for vegetarians and can be adapted to vegans
- Dietary requests and what type of vegetarian diet you follow must be communicated to us at the time of booking

Free Time In Crete
- This Cretan vegetarian cookery holiday is packed with cultural trips, culinary delights, and cooking lessons but if you want to explore the area there is plenty to do
- From the Thalori houses you can take a mountain path to trek to some of Crete’s most beautiful beaches
- There are numerous cultural and archaeological sites nearby, as well as chapels and monasteries which are decorated with distinct murals
- Ravines and caves are scattered through the mountainous area surrounding the complex which can be explored
- Several sandy beaches frame the Heraklion County’s coast which are often deserted
This is a cookery holiday that is about so much more than simply learning to cook. It is a holiday that will awaken your senses, enliven your passion, invigorate your intellect and teach you how to cook vegetarian meals from the heart.
About the location
With spectacular views over the Libyan sea, Kapetaniana is a cosy village and the perfect location for your Greek vegetarian cookery holiday experience.

This characterful location, in the heart of Asteroussia, has at its centre an ancient building that has long been associated with myth and legend. It is now the unique and atmospheric location of your cookery school.

You will cook and dine on traditional dishes chosen specifically from fresh, local ingredients that are in abundance around you, giving you that feeling of living from the land and letting you indulge in the beauty that nature provides.

The Asteroussia area is a favourite destination for anyone seeking the tranquillity of the mountains or breathtakingly beautiful walks along the secret beaches of southern Crete.

You will stay in the Thalori resort which has been designed and furnished to offer memorable experiences. The Thalori is a complex of traditional stone built houses which have been beautifully restored to reflect the ancient traditions of the area. The houses are constructed from stone and rock, with traditional fireplaces and embroidered carpets that create a gloriously warm atmosphere. The houses are equally functional and relaxing.

There are 14 houses in total and these are allocated so that each person or group stay within their own house and share a bathroom. There is also a stunning swimming pool boasting beautiful views over the area.

All meals and cookery classes are taken as a group hosted by cooks George who is also your host for your tours around the island.

It’s easy to see why Chef George is so successful in teaching cookery courses. He has a warm and friendly disposition, full of character with a great sense of humour. He has worked internationally in the hospitality industry for more than forty years and has managed his own restaurants but he loves nothing more than communicating his passion for the Cretan food and traditions. And for more than ten years now, he has been teaching others how delicious and healthy traditional Cretan cooking is.

Chef George is a member of the Vegetarian Society International and is committed to raising awareness of the diversity and variety of traditional Cretan food in vegetarian cooking and that it is not just a cuisine for meat eaters.


Features
- Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty 68km from Heraklion
- The beach is about 7km away so within walking distance
- A restaurant with a unique atmosphere where you can share and enjoy the best of Cretan cuisine
- Beautifully restored accommodation with all amenities geared towards your comfort and enjoyment, including LCD and satellite TV, orthopaedic mattresses and central heating
- Swimming pool with stunning views
- Inspiring tours around the island to sample and learn about the Cretan way of life
- The wilderness of the mountains and spectacular views and inlets to the secret beaches of Southern Crete
- Expert hands-on tuition and a warm, casual and relaxed learning environment
- An opportunity to travel to interesting places out of tourist zones and see local people at work
- Learning at your own pace using the techniques of traditional Cretan Mediterranean cuisine following the old methods
- Learning how to transform your vegetarian dishes and being creative to make authentic and delicious dishes you will want to share with family and friends


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